Industries, business practices, employee expectations, managerial approaches, and workplace environments are all changing in companies across all sectors.
The ever-changing nature of business requires leaders to adapt if they want to succeed.
Having someone in leadership who can lead the way through an uncertain environment is the secret weapon for flourishing companies.
How Adaptive Leadership Can Change
Adaptive leadership isn’t just leadership that adjusts to client demands and sales forecasts.
Truly adaptive leaders see the big picture of what’s happening in their industry.
They are willing to adjust company values, methods, and processes to improve operations.
Let’s look at how adaptive leadership can help your company thrive through industry changes.
Adapt to Fully Remote Work Schedules
Company leaders weren’t banking on the abrupt shift to fully remote work brought on by the pandemic.
But it happened.
And companies that couldn’t transition their teams to fully remote work didn’t fare well during this time.
Although there was some concern about maintaining productivity, guaranteeing engagement, and inspiring growth with fully remote teams, leaders who chose to adapt to unprecedented times managed all of these things.
They didn’t look at the lack of a physical location as a limitation for their operation.
Instead, they saw it as an opportunity for their teams to rise up and continue serving their customer base.
Being open to fully remote work either permanently or on an as-needed basis can help you be a more adaptive leader. If the times call for such a transition, trust your employees enough to know that they’ll get the job done regardless of where they are.
Adapt to the Hybrid Workplace
Now that we’re officially rebuilding from the pandemic, fully remote work isn’t the only option. Company leaders in every industry want their employees to come back to the office.
But workers are pushing back.
They want more flexibility.
Wise business leaders adapted to hybrid work instead of losing employees with an ultimatum to return to the office or lose their jobs. Giving employees the option to work in-office on specific days and remotely on others is one of the most productive compromises to make.
It’s crucial to know how to manage a hybrid workplace if you want to be an adaptive leader:
- Be flexible when creating schedules
- Maintain open communication
- Lean into technology to ensure your hybrid workplace runs seamlessly
Adapt to the Gig Economy
People are also taking things into their own hands when they can’t find companies to accommodate the flexibility they need in their schedules and work environments. So they’re turning to gig work, in particular, to relish freedom and flexibility.
The creative industry has seen a significant influx of gig workers. Freelance, contract, and temporary workers are finding all sorts of work in
Leaders who’ve adapted to the gig economy find that they can get the same high-quality work for a lower cost than hiring someone full-time.
So, if you want to be an adaptable leader, you must be open-minded to hiring gig workers when hiring a full-time employee isn’t plausible.
Don’t let your business suffer because you don’t want to acknowledge the profitability of gig work.
Prioritize Employees’ Wellness Needs
There was a point when employee well-being conversations were nonexistent in the workplace.
We’ve seen teachers walk out of their classrooms, sanitation workers go on strike, and manufacturing workers demand better working conditions because company leaders refused to hear their needs and concerns.
Leaders who rose to the occasion regarding employee well-being support saw increased employee happiness, efficiency, and loyalty. Work performance and professional growth got better too.
Don’t treat your employees as dispensable.
Instead, show genuine concern and care for their holistic health. Just as much as your business will change, your employees will too.
So, it’s essential to adapt their schedules, roles, and responsibilities to who they are and what they need in specific times to thrive.
Prioritize Diversity in the Workplace
Claims of racism and discrimination in various companies continue to rise, and we don’t see the representation in every position that we should. Meaning that we don’t see different races, cultures, backgrounds, experiences, and abilities in high and low-level positions.
But those leaders that embraced diversity and inclusion in the workplace reaped serious benefits, including
- Better problem-solving
- More creativity
- Informed decision-making
Leaders need adaptability because they have to be able to connect with people of varying backgrounds. When you can connect with each person on your team, you can genuinely honor who they are and what they bring to the table.
Adapt to E-Commerce
E-commerce is booming. Consumers are making just as many, if not more, purchases online than they are at brick-and-mortar stores. The demand for online shopping options is only increasing.
Specifically, the shipping and logistics industry leaders had to adapt to product demand and consumer desire to get their packages as fast as possible, and they did it by digitizing their shipping methods. Automating shipping processes
- Reduces human error
- Lowers delivery costs
- Saves processing time
- Opens up multiple sales channels
Being a more adaptive leader means welcoming a digital transformation.
If you haven’t already, develop a plan for taking your operation online.
Also, think specifically about how you’re going to fill orders and adapt to the shipping expectations of your customers.
Use New Technology Effectively
What industry isn’t relying more on technology? As consumers become more technologically driven, companies have had to do the same to keep up. Without technology, company leaders risk being a step behind their competition and losing customers.
The manufacturing industry, in particular, uses artificial intelligence tools like robotic arms to pack and sort products to speed up their processes. It’s also using automation tools more frequently to collect, process, and pull insights from data for more informed business decisions.
You can embrace adaptability by implementing more technology in your operation.
Be intentional about the tools you choose. They should easily scale with your company. They should also help you future cast and prepare for changes in your industry.
Adapt to the Sustainability Movement
Leaders worldwide are becoming more aware and active in the movement toward a healthier planet.
Transportation, agriculture, and waste management industries are leading the sustainability movement. Companies that have progressed in their environmental health and safety goals are finding more loyalty among customers with similar values, boosting their business bottom line.
Adaptability as a leader requires you to look at what’s going on inside your company and how your business is contributing to the outside world. You must adapt how you run your business to support ever-changing environmental needs.
Harness Social Media’s Influence
Social media can be a powerful tool for every business in any industry.
For example, it’s enhanced the marketing industry by opening up another avenue for connection and communication with customers.
It’s also impacted the customer service industry because businesses use these platforms often to resolve customer service issues.
Social media should be a part of your arsenal as you work toward becoming a more adaptive leader.
- Look at the conversations around your brand.
- See what competitors are doing.
- Grow your presence on the platforms your audience is using.
By doing so, you’ll be able to adjust your products or services to accommodate your customers’ needs better. You’ll also be able to get a leg up on your competitors.
Aligning Adaptive Leadership With Remote Work
As mentioned above, fully remote work and hybrid workplaces are becoming more of the norm. We focus a lot on how employees adapt to remote work, but what about leaders? Many failed to acknowledge the differences in leadership practices for an in-office team vs. a remote one.
The most successful leaders adapted their skills and tendencies to lead remote teams.
For example, they continued the “open-door” policy in a remote world by making themselves available for video chats.
They also prioritized collaboration and teamwork with frequent brainstorming sessions via virtual whiteboards and other communication tools.
Learning to lead remotely will absolutely help you become a more adaptive leader.
If the world ever shuts down again, some of your employees need to work from home, or you want to expand your team globally, you must be ready to lead remotely.
Fostering Deeper Relationships With Employees Through Adaptive Leadership
Employees these days want more than a dictatorship in their leadership suite. As a result, more and more workers are walking away from companies with leaders that don’t respect them, value their work, or care about their needs.
Wise leaders adapted to employees’ need for a deeper relationship with management.
By doing so, they inspired their employees to do better work.
The more they cared about their employees, the more their employees wanted to do for them.
Decide that a deeper relationship with your employees is essential to how well your company functions. Take the time to develop a personal relationship with each person on your team.
This will help you notice when things change with them faster, and you can then find ways to acclimate to those changes to better support them.
Aligning Adaptive Leadership With Social Responsibility
There’s also a growing demand for companies to take a stance on social issues. Racial, economic, and social justice issues are becoming more apparent. And your external audiences and internal teams are equally affected by them. So much so that they require business leaders to take a stand on them.
When company leaders adapted to the demand for a stance on issues under the social responsibility umbrella, their internal teams felt more supported and understood.
Their external audiences also felt a closeness to brands they hadn’t before they took a stance.
So, be a more adaptive leader by keeping up with what’s going on in the world and making a clear stance on issues that affect your external audience and internal teams.
As industries change, leaders should too. As you look deeper into some of the changes taking place in different industries, think about how you’d adapt to them if or when they happen to you.